1.3 Winter 2020

Desk Warming, Day 1

I nervously made my way to the makeshift office to discover a bustling room and my new desk covered in Ethernet cables and electrical cords. But an older man and young woman quickly cleared it off and even wiped it down. I was further appeased when the man offered me coffee. I saw him mix at least 5 for himself throughout the day.

The young woman, who speaks surprisingly good English, gave me a space heater too. Having spent winter in a drafty classroom with such poor heating that I usually wear a jacket indoors, this is nice. Luxury, even.

I spent the first two hours of this morning studying Korean then the next two on Hanja. The 행정실 staff invited me to lunch but I already had a date with S. And another man also popped his head in after the staff left to ask if I had eaten.

I… don’t know who he is.

S’s son was home sick from school so he wiggled all over lunch. He’s a cutie. We had 감자탕 which is pork rib soup and good for a cold day.

When she dropped me back off, I heard the staff asking what we ate. The manager said in Korean, “oh but isn’t that spicy?” S swiftly replied “she has no problem with spice. She eats spicy things well.” The soup was about as spicy as chili.

I love you Korea and maybe I’m just accustomed now but your food ain’t deathly spicy.

(Light research tells me this concern stems from Japanese foreigners. Japanese cuisine is extremely mild in comparison so those coming from the East have a harder time with Korean food.)

Around four the VP came in and dismissed me in very carefully prepared English. I think they were about to have a meeting in the very limited space and I’m more than happy to vacate for needed room.

After, I had a strange encounter at the pharmacy where in response to my sentence the man returned a whole paragraph. I think he was saying “having a chest cough is difficult” but even after repeating it (with no changes) and laughing to himself I didn’t understand and just said … yes it’s difficult. Are you messing with me? Or just have inflated faith in my Korean abilities? A complex colloquial sentence is just as incomprehensible to me slow or fast… (for now!)

Then I did some light shopping at Emart. It has Costco style muffins although sadly no banana nut, so I had to settle on blueberry. And WOW is that a first world problem.

As I ate only a muffin for dinner I’m hungry and really hankering for American style hot wings so a trip to the foreigner neighborhood might be necessary this week.

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